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Effects of anatomy and particle size on nasal sprays and nebulizers. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2012 Feb;146(2):313-9



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Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84858811854   35 Citations


OBJECTIVE: To study the effects of nasal deformity on aerosol penetration past the nasal valve (NV) for varying particle sizes using sprays or nebulizers.

STUDY DESIGN: Computed mathematical nasal airway model.

SETTING: Department computer lab.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Particle deposition was analyzed using a computational fluid dynamics model of the human nose with leftward septal deviation and compensatory right inferior turbinate hypertrophy. Sprays were simulated for 10 µm, 20 µm, 50 µm, or particle sizes following a Rosin Rammler particle size distribution (10-110 µm), at speeds of 1, 3, or 10 meters per second. Nebulization was simulated for 1, 3.2, 6.42, or 10 µm particles. Steady state inspiratory airflow was simulated at 15.7 liters per minute.

RESULTS: Sprays predicted higher NV penetration on the right side for particle sizes >10 µm, with comparable penetration on both sides at 10 µm. Nearly 100% deposited in the nasal passages for all spray characteristics. Nebulizer predictions showed nearly 100% of particles <6.42 µm and more than 50% of 6.42 µm bypassing both sides of the nose without depositing. Of the nebulized particles that deposited, penetration was higher on the right at 10 µm, with comparable penetration on both sides at 6.42 µm. Spray penetration was highest at 10 µm, with more than 96% penetrating on both sides at 1 and 3 meters per second. Nebulization penetration was also highest at 10 µm (40% on the left, >90% on the right).

CONCLUSION: In the presence of a septal deviation, sprays or nebulizers containing 10-µm particles may have good penetration beyond the NV. Nebulized particles <10 µm are likely to be respirable. Additionally, spray speeds above 3 meters per second may limit penetration.

Author List

Frank DO, Kimbell JS, Pawar S, Rhee JS


Sachin S. Pawar MD Chief, Associate Professor in the Otolaryngology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
John S. Rhee MD Chair, Professor in the Otolaryngology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Models, Theoretical
Nasal Sprays
Nebulizers and Vaporizers
Particle Size